Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting Castle Island

Because Boston is so far north a lot of the beaches have freezing cold water, even during the hottest summer months.  The water temperature doesn't really matter if you just want some sandy space to layout in, but ice cold water is a lot less fun when you have young children who want to play in it, yet can hardly stand to keep their toes in the water.  Not that I blame them... we went to Revere Beach in late June and the water was so cold it was taking my breath away at calf deep.

Touring Boston - What to Know About Visiting Castle Island

We finally found a beach that works really well for both adults and children.  Castle Island (it's no longer an actual island) is perfect!  There is free parking, a long winding beach, delicious food (see my post about Sullivan's), a cool fort to walk around, lots of green space, a playground, and because the water here is in a bay, by mid summer the water is warm enough to actually get into.

We came enjoyed the fort and playground and ended up playing in the little beach near the playground.  It was shallow, warm and my son and I loved it!

Things to Note:

1) Transportation
Parking is free.  Castle Island is not super close to the "T" but there are bus lines that go to it. Also once you get there parking runs right along the ocean or if you end up parking in the lot it's a short walking (minutes) to the fort or playground.

Fort Independence - touring Castle Island with kids
2) Water
The water here is in a big bay and tends to be a fair amount warmer that most of the other beaches in the area.  However like most of the other beaches around here the shells and rocks right at the shoreline are super rough and if you actually want to get into the water you and your kids will probably want water shoes.  I feel like I have fairly tough feet and I can hardly make it to swimming level.  Also there are pretty much no waves here, which is great for kids but lame for body surfing or boogie boarding.

3) Food
The only vendor really close to the water is Sullivan's.  They sell classic American fair, hamburgers, hotdogs and the like at a fair price and they are delicious!  Also they are not open during the winter.

4) Fort
Fort Independence is a great big pentagon shaped fort with an awesome walking path around it.  It's open from Memorial Day to Columbus Day for both guided and self guided tours. Note that guided tours are only available on the weekends.

5) Bathrooms
Yes, there are bathrooms on Castle Island with running water and flushing toilets.  The first few times I went all I saw were port-a-potties and I was not impressed.  Then I realized the actual bathroom are close the playground and they are much nicer and cleaner.

Summary and Rating ★★★★★

Five Stars.  I think this is a great beach and it's half way between a commercial and a rural beach.  Castle Island is a state park, but you still have the benefit of being close to the city and having a food option near you.  I love that the water is a little bit warmer here and that there are so many things to do in addition to going to the beach (which is my main drive)  the park is a blast and walking around the fort is really interesting with a great view.  Also you can't complain about free parking!

Have you been here before?  If so I'd love to know more about your experience and any tips or tricks you have in the comments section below. 

Castle Island
Castle Island
Boston, MA 02127

Phone: 617-727-5290